RPT-Irish bookmaker cuts odds on U.S. debt default

Fri Oct 4, 2013 6:16pm EDT

By Julia Edwards

NEW YORK Oct 4 (Reuters) - Irish online gambling site Paddy Power has cut the odds on a U.S. debt default as gridlock in Washington this week has raised the possibility of the country failing to raise its debt ceiling.

"We shortened the odds on there being a default, which means that we felt there was a greater likelihood of it occurring," FĂ©ilim Mac An Iomaire, public relations manager for Paddy Power, said on Friday.

A budget stalemate led to a partial shutdown of the U.S. government on Tuesday, increasing fears that an agreement may not be reached before the Oct. 17 deadline to raise the debt ceiling.

The odds offered by Paddy Power are still strongly in favor of the United States raising the debt ceiling and making good on its payment obligations.

The site lists odds of 1/6 on the government raising the debt ceiling and 7/2 on a default. Previously, the odds were 1/3 on raising the debt ceiling and 6/1 on a default.

Only residents of Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Australia can bet on Paddy Power. Though most bets are made on sports, Mac An Iomaire said the site's visitors have a keen interest in the U.S. debt default debate.

A crackdown by regulators has put a damper on U.S. domestic betting on U.S. political bets. Intrade.com, another online betting parlor that catered to U.S. bettors and offered contracts on the outcome of races such as the U.S. presidential election, shut down in July due to financial irregularities.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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